(Black Press Media file)

B.C. drug courier gets 5.5 years in prison for delivering $350K in fentanyl, cocaine

Pedro Dwayne Kematch, 35, was sentenced on Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court

  • May. 30, 2019 3:30 p.m.

Kamloops This Week

A Vancouver father of four who began transporting large quantities of fentanyl and cocaine after work dried up in Alberta’s oilsands will spend more than five years in a federal prison.

Pedro Dwayne Kematch, 35, was sentenced on Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

Prior to his arrest, court heard, police became aware Kematch was part of a large-scale drug trafficking group transporting fentanyl and cocaine from B.C. to other provinces.

On Feb. 28, 2015, an Acura being driven by Kematch was pulled over for speeding near Kamloops. Inside, police found a backpack and a hidden compartment containing 9,950 fentanyl pills and 487 grams of cocaine — drugs with a potential street value of nearly $350,000.

Federal Crown prosecutor Anthony Varesi said the fentanyl pills had been stamped to look like counterfeit Oxycontin.

“The accused was obviously a trusted member of this organization to be transporting such a large amount,” Varesi said. “The number of fentanyl pills seized is quite alarming. It’s of course now a national health crisis.”

Defence lawyer John Gustafson said Kematch had been supporting his family with his work in Alberta. When his partner went back to school, Gustafson said, Kematch had to find a new job closer to home in the Lower Mainland.

“He very quickly fell into a situation where he was quite desperate,” Gustafson said. “It’s these circumstances that led to him being involved in these events.”

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley stressed the danger posed by fentanyl in handing down his sentence.

“The impact on society that fentanyl has had is well-known,” he said. “In some sense, trafficking in fentanyl is akin to trafficking in a death sentence.”

Dley agreed to a five-and-a-half-year joint submission presented by Varesi and Gustafson.

In addition to the time behind bars, Kematch will also be barred for life from possessing firearms. He was also ordered to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database.

Dley also ordered the modified Acura forfeited to the Crown.

ALSO READ: B.C.’s opioid crisis leads to first stall in Canadian life expectancy in 40 years

ALSO READ: First Nations people in B.C. four times more likely to die of an overdose


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Letters to Dunrovin

Letters To Seniors project is connecting communities to care home residents during COVID-19

Quesnel School District opens playgrounds

School playgrounds have opened as of Friday, June 5

Quesnel Farmers’ Market welcomes back non-food vendors

Decision comes as the Province moves forward with phase two of the B.C. Restart Plan

Barkerville set to re-open in phases

Accomodations, shops, restaraunts to open June 18, exhibits and public programming July 3

P.G.’s Barb Ward-Burkitt named new chair of Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women

A survivor of domestic abuse herself, Ward-Burkitt has served as vice-chair since 2018

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘Great Regional Air Hug’ being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read